January 20, 2006, 12:00 AM

Visits to iTunes grow 241% year-over-year, study says

The number of unique visitors to Apple`s iTunes site grew 241% to 20.7 million in December, up from 6.1 million a year ago, Nielsen/NetRatings reports.

Kurt Peters

Executive Editor

Supporting Apple Computer Inc.’s belief that digital music consumers prefer to download songs one at a time, the number of unique visitors to its iTunes Music Store web site grew 241% to 20.7 million in December, up from 6.1 million a year ago, Nielsen/NetRatings reports.

“The rapid growth of iTunes is an important phenomenon in the online media marketplace,” said Jon Gibs, director of media analytics, Nielsen/NetRatings. “Consumers have clearly indicated that they are eager to control their own music libraries, one song at a time.”

The traffic to iTunes is largely comprised of teens, Nielsen said, noting that consumers aged 12-17 are nearly twice as likely as the average Internet user to visit iTunes.

ITunes visitors are also more likely to be male, at 56% of total visits, Nielsen said.

Nielsen also found that iTunes visitors tend to favor Volkswagen, Audi and Subaru among car brands, that they watch the Cartoon Network at 1.4 times the average consumer rate, and prefer Wired and Rolling Stone magazines.

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